Feb. 17, 2023

At A Glance

At a Glance is a Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (Department) publication that provides information on major initiatives, policy changes and program updates. Feel free to share At a Glance with your colleagues. Find previous editions of At a Glance on the Department website at Colorado.gov/hcpf/publications. Thank you for your interest!
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A Message from the Executive Director

As the PHE comes to an end, please help us Keep Coloradans Covered

Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) has grown by about 500,000 members since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the largest increase in Health First Colorado membership since Medicaid expansion, which helped connect an additional 600,000 Coloradans to affordable coverage. In accordance with federal directives, and in collaboration with our county partners, the Department will resume the standard eligibility renewal and disenrollment process beginning this May for Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), after more than a three-year pause. The Department will take 12 months (14 months including member noticing, which begins in March) to complete the renewal process for all 1.75 million Coloradans currently covered under Health First Colorado and CHP+.

As we return to normal operations, the Department is estimating that more than 325,000 Coloradans (about 20% of current members) may no longer qualify for our safety net coverage programs, and will therefore be disenrolled beginning in May and over the 12 months that follow. Given the magnitude of this transition of Coloradans from Medicaid to commercial coverage, we are asking all stakeholders to join the Department and the Polis-Primavera Administration in a shared effort to Keep Coloradans Covered through two main pathways. 

First, we invite you to help us ensure effective member awareness and engagement through the renewal process. For more information about the renewal process, videos in English and Spanish, and frequently asked questions, please visit HealthFirstColorado.com/renewals

Second, we invite you to help us connect disenrolling Coloradans to other sources of affordable coverage to Keep Coloradans Covered. For more information about health insurance coverage types, please visit the Colorado Division of Insurance Types of Health Insurance Information page. 

  • Health care providers, advocates, counties/MA sites, Case Management Agencies (CMAs), Regional Accountable Agencies (RAEs) and others who provide support services to Medicaid members, please remind your Medicaid members to update their contact information with the state, to look for and complete their Medicaid renewals, and to seek other coverage options if they no longer qualify for their current coverage. 
  • Employers, brokers and consultants, please recognize that some employees now covered through Medicaid need to be enrolled in your employer-sponsored health plans beginning in May and over the 12 months to follow. Please proactively remind your employees how to do that, recognizing the magnitude of this coverage shift.

The Department is also partnering with Connect for Health Colorado to ensure disenrolling members know how to apply for individual and family coverage and how to secure the financial subsidies that make that coverage more affordable. Connect for Health’s network of certified assisters can help. Coloradans can also apply and enroll in a plan during their special enrollment period by calling the Customer Service Center at 855-752-6749.   

Due to the tremendous advances in our eligibility processes over the last few years, some members will be automatically renewed and will not need to take any action to remain covered (about 30% and growing). Others will receive a renewal packet and will need to take action (about 70%) to stay covered by the deadlines listed within this important renewal communication. We have also made significant investments in PEAK, member correspondence, our monitoring systems and our eligibility system to further the important work ahead of us. We have further worked with our county partners, sister agencies and the Joint Budget Committee to secure additional funding to assist them through this unique chapter. Last, to ensure broad alignment and communications, for many months now, the Department has been hosting stakeholder meetings. The week of Jan. 23, we met with approximately 800 county and community partners on our plans to return to normal eligibility operations. To get connected to these meetings, please visit our website.

Through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and collaboration across the state, between 2014 through 2016, Colorado’s uninsured rate decreased from 15.8% to about 6.6% (Colorado Health Access survey results). By continuing to work together, we have been able to maintain that 6.6% uninsured rate through the COVID-19-induced economic downturn by moving hundreds of thousands of Coloradans from commercial coverage to Medicaid - a spectacular achievement to the betterment of the health and well-being of Coloradans, employers, our providers and our state. Now, we need to partner again to reconnect what is estimated to be more than 325,000 Coloradans back to affordable commercial coverage. Our Department is stepping up to lead that industry effort, in collaboration with our sister agencies, counties, providers, advocates and a cross section of industry leaders. Our shared goal through these efforts under the Polis-Primavera Administration is clear: Keep Coloradans Covered. Look for more resources and tools in the months ahead to help us achieve our shared goal. Thank you in advance for your engagement to Keep Coloradans Covered. 

Separately, on Jan. 31, the federal government announced May 11 as the end date for the public health emergency. Colorado has been preparing for this, and has already made positive policy changes, such as telehealth, permanent. Please visit our website to stay updated. 

Given the increasing number of Coloradans who will be covered by commercial programs in the months to come, health care affordability is even more important. In that spirit, the Department will continue to pursue our mission to Save People Money On Health Care through thought leadership and advances in prescription drug, hospital and value based payment (VBP) policies as well as innovations that improve care affordability, access, equity and quality. In that quest, last month, the Department released three hospital transparency reports to help policymakers and communities drive solutions that save Coloradans and employers money on health care. We will be hosting a Health Cabinet Affordability Summit on March 15, 7:30-10 a.m. on affordability solutions, VBPs, rural hospital supports and shared efforts to Keep Coloradans Covered. Please register today! 

Also, we invite you to keep abreast of our budget and legislative agendas in support of this important work and more. 

We appreciate your continued partnership in helping Keep Coloradans Covered as the public health emergency and the continuous coverage provision come to an end. And we thank you for your leadership in driving affordable access to care and coverage for all Coloradans.

Breaking News

Register Now for the March Health Cabinet Summit:

Please register to join Lt. Governor Primavera, Health Cabinet executive directors and industry leaders for the Health Cabinet Affordability Summit hosted by the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing – March 15, 7:30 - 10 a.m. This FREE virtual event is designed for policymakers, advocates, payers, care providers, health care leaders and other industry stakeholders.

Presentations, topics and panels will include:

  • Hospital and prescription drug affordability
  • Rural hospital opportunities
  • Value based payments
  • Partnering to Keep Coloradans Covered after the end of the public health emergency

The full agenda will be posted on our website.

Child Tax Credits: Help Us Spread the Word!

Please help remind Health First Colorado and CHP+ members of the 2023 Child Tax Credit (CTC). This federal tax credit can help save Coloradans money. Unlike other tax credits, these are available even to those who earn very little income. Individuals only need to file a simple tax return to get the payment. Members can get started at www.getaheadcolorado.org.

Mental Health Parity Request for Public Comment:

The Department has begun work on the annual Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) Report to assess the compliance of the Medicaid benefit with mental health parity laws. The Department is gathering stakeholder thoughts and experiences related to mental health parity. These insights will be used to design the mental health parity analyses and inform an annual report.  

Individuals interested in submitting written comments can do so using this form. The form will be open until March 15. The purpose is to collect feedback from stakeholders; the Department will not be responding to submitted comments.  

For more information, visit our webpage

Ambassador Program:

Health First Colorado is launching a Community-Based Organization (CBO) Ambassador Program to help improve the readability of letters and other program information for Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking members.

We want to work with current members and others who might be eligible for services to improve letters and other written information in Spanish and Vietnamese.

Ambassadors will:

  • help us understand the needs of the communities they live in
  • partner with community organizations to help make the information we send culturally responsive and easy to understand in their native languages
  • be paid an hourly wage and get training and support from the Department

Trusted community organizations can contact our subcontractor, Health Management Associates (HMA), if they are interested in supporting the Ambassador Program. This could include hosting an Ambassador or providing information about potential Ambassadors in their community.

For more information, contact Cesar Zatarain.

Communication Toolkits and Resources:

The Department has been working with stakeholders and partners to develop communication toolkits to prepare members for the return to normal renewal processes. 

The Take Action on Your Renewal toolkit is new! The materials in this toolkit are designed to encourage members to look for their renewal packet in the mail and PEAK mailbox and take action when they get it. This toolkit includes general member awareness outreach partners can share in their websites, newsletters, social media as well as direct-to-member email and text messaging communications. It also includes downloadable, customizable flyers. These resources are currently available in English and Spanish. 

The Preparing for Renewals toolkit includes renewal process information that explains key terms and provides sample notices so partners can see exactly what the member will see when they go through the renewal process. In addition, both partners and members can view short videos in English and Spanish on key actions: updating an address, completing the renewal process, and transitioning to other coverage if a member no longer qualifies.

Update Your Address Campaign:

We know that many members have moved over the past few years. It is crucial that we have correct addresses so that members get the information they need to keep or change their coverage. Please continue to help us spread the word to Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members to update their contact information. Update Your Address tools are available in the top 11 languages for HFC members.

Health First Colorado Renewals Page:

In preparation for renewals to start back up, the Department has added an informational webpage for members on the Health First Colorado website. Members can find general information about the renewal process and answers to frequently asked questions. This page is published in English and Spanish

For the latest information on returning to normal renewal processes and other communication resources, visit the COVID-19 PHE Planning webpage

Emergency Additional SNAP Benefits Ending in March:

All Coloradans who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will see a reduction in their monthly benefit amount after February 2023. The temporary additional benefit amounts (emergency allotments) are ending due to the result of recent congressional action. This is a change enacted by Congress and is not appealable. SNAP serves more than 290,000 households and 554,000 individuals in Colorado each month by providing money to purchase food and safeguard the well-being of SNAP participants and their families.

Emergency allotment gave SNAP participants additional money for food during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing households up to their maximum amount of money for food they can receive for their household size and circumstances. This reduction in benefits may have a significant impact on many households. 

A messaging toolkit has been created for community partners and the general public to use to help get the word out about the end of SNAP emergency allotment benefits. For more information please visit the SNAP webpage.

Helpful Resources

Read Health First Colorado News

Download Health First Colorado Resources

Find PEAK Resources

Join a Public Rule Review Meeting

Apply for a State of CO Job

Getting Health Care Coverage Through Health First Colorado & CHP+
Female provider, kneeling next to parents holding small child.


In December 2022, there were

1,679,035 Coloradans enrolled in Health First Colorado and

47,688 enrolled in Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+).